Archive – October 2019

Tips and information on effective giving

Donors

Protecting Yourself From Scams

Chances are that you’ve been at the end of a scam phone call. With the rise of VoIP and internet-based calling platforms, it’s never been easier for someone to try prying personal information from you. While rare, there are groups out there that will even pose as charities to attempt to fraudulently raise money over the phone or by sending phishing emails. Sometimes they do so without the nonprofit knowing anything. With the giving season fast approaching, how can you protect yourself? 

Here are our tips for avoiding fraud when donating.

1. Don’t give money over the phone

Pretty simple. ...

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Categories: Understanding Impact

Donors

Why Isn't the Nonprofit I'm Interested in Rated?

We rate a nonprofit when we have enough information to estimate the change it’s made in people’s lives. There are a few possible reasons we couldn’t do that for the nonprofit you’re interested in. 

Does the nonprofit do work like research or advocacy? 

Nonprofits that seek systems change through advocacy, research or similar activities may be highly effective, but they are much harder to measure. The link between the nonprofit’s work and the final outcome is longer, and often there are alternate explanations for why that particular piece of legislation passed or those minds changed. We do not (yet) have ...

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Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Food Distribution

As a team, we’ve spent the past few months digging into hunger alleviation nonprofits — food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens — to understand their impact. We have a few takeaways. Most importantly, food distribution is a good bang for your buck. Of the 305 nonprofits we analyzed, a massive 265 provide a meal to a person in need at less than 75 percent of the price of a regular meal in their community, thus earning them 5 stars.

A brief recap of our process. We set out to estimate how many dollars it took food banks, food pantries ...

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Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Tree Planting

There’s not a lot we could write here about the threat of climate change that hasn’t already been said. Higher temperatures, more destructive storms, disruption of food systems — the list goes on. But nonprofits have risen to the challenge, whether by getting individuals to adopt greener habits or advocating for change on the global stage.

The ImpactMatters research team focused first on nonprofits that are battling climate change one tree at a time, including reforestation nonprofits (which target areas that were once forested) and urban forestry nonprofits (which plant trees in cities). The measurable environmental benefit stems from the ...

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Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Postsecondary Scholarships

Students in the U.S. pay some of the steepest fees for postsecondary education in the world and face more student loan debt than all other countries combined. Despite the cost, postsecondary degrees are seen as a silver bullet in the U.S., providing a path to higher wages, more fulfilling employment and better health. Many nonprofits offer scholarships so that students with financial need or other disadvantages can share in the benefits of postsecondary education. But, how do scholarships actually impact the long-term outcomes for students? The ImpactMatters team endeavored to review as many scholarship-granting nonprofits as we could to answer ...

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Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Water Purification

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 780 million people worldwide lack access to clean water — a harrowing figure. Thankfully, many nonprofits are at the vanguard of providing clean water to communities who otherwise lack access. The ImpactMatters team has been looking at a subset of these nonprofits, which provide water purification systems to extremely poor beneficiaries so they can get clean water. But what is the true impact of these water purification programs? Should donors be putting their limited dollars in these nonprofits’ hands? To answer these questions, we analyzed 11 nonprofits to start with, working ...

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Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Cataract Surgery

A cataract is the clouding of the lens of the eye, preventing clear vision. Fortunately, cataracts can be treated with minimally invasive surgery. Nevertheless, cataracts remain the cause of over half of all blindness worldwide. The global poor bear a disproportionate amount of this burden, as unfortunately, people with cataracts in developing countries often lack access to sight-saving medical services. Recognizing this gap, nonprofits have developed programs to provide cataract surgery to those who would otherwise have no choice but to live with blindness. These are often called surgical outreach camps. The ImpactMatters team sought to estimate the impact of ...

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Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Disability Benefits for Veterans

Donors care a lot about our nation’s veterans — it’s the second most common charity type people search for, after cancer. We’ve spent the last few months analyzing the impact of the specific group of nonprofits that help disabled veterans claim the payments (“benefits”) they are owed by the government — and we’ve discovered a few things along the way. 

First, a brief explanation of our process. We evaluated programs that provide legal and administrative assistance to veterans who are owed benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.). The system to claim disability benefits, as it turns out, is ...

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Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Financial Assistance for Patients with Medical Conditions

Having a chronic illness often means dealing with ongoing physical symptoms and emotional distress. Having a chronic illness in the U.S. means all of those things, plus an additional crushing financial burden. Cancer is one of the most expensive conditions to have in the U.S. — more than 42 percent of the 9.5 million people over 50 years old who were diagnosed with cancer from 2000 to 2012 drained their life's assets within two years. The average cost of a single day in a hospital is $2,200. If you have a rare disease, as 25–30 million Americans do, treatment ...

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Categories: What We Learned...

Donors     Researchers     Nonprofits

What We Learned About Emergency Shelter

Emergency shelter is one part of a larger continuum of services meant to help people experiencing homelessness ultimately transition to permanent housing. Not intended to be a permanent solution on its own, the role of an emergency shelter is to offer a crucial service to those on the path out of homelessness — a night of safe shelter. The ImpactMatters team researched a large swath of emergency shelter nonprofits in order to give donors accurate estimates of their impact. We were able to find data on 390 nonprofits, who spend a total of $273,576,685 to provide 9,275,738 nights of emergency ...

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Categories: What We Learned...